I was thinking about weight loss today (haha, what else is new?) when a pretty significant realization came to me suddenly – the key to losing weight is obviously eating healthfully and exercising. But there’s more to it than just that. What’s really and truly key in successfully losing weight is that each person has to find the ways of doing it that best suit them as an individual.
This realization came to me as I was thinking about the bombardment of messages we receive regularly about the “best” way to lose weight. Every day in the news, in the media, online, and from our family/friends/co-workers (and sometimes perfect strangers) there is contradicting information about the “right” way to get fit and lose weight. You’ve likely heard it before: cut carbs, avoid carbs, drink smoothies, try juicing, eat more protein, never skip breakfast, don’t eat after 7pm, cut sugar, detox, use supplements, don’t drink your calories, go gluten-free, become a vegan, join Weight Watchers, track your calories, keep a food journal, use an app, see a nutritionist, drink more water, eat clean, eat only organic… The list goes on and on.
But it’s not just nutrition – the same contradictory messages are given about fitness too. Lift heavy, do more cardio, start jogging, work out at home, go for a walk, take the stairs, track your fitness, wear a heart rate monitor, get 10,000 steps……. The same kind of endless advice that’s given to us about what we should (or shouldn’t) eat is given to us about how we should (or shouldn’t) exercise in order to successfully lose weight and keep it off.
To someone who’s new to their weight loss journey, these messages can be overwhelming and confusing. They can make you constantly second guess if what you’re doing is right, discourage or frustrate you, and can even prevent some people from getting started.
But what I’m beginning to realize is that out of the myriads of tips, suggestions, tricks, hints, and ideas about eating right and exercising, there is only one true key to success – out of all the advice and information that’s out there, you have to figure out what works best for you.
There’s no one recipe of success for everybody. What works for some won’t necessarily work for others. You have to find the things that you enjoy (that goes for food and exercise), the things that suit your lifestyle, and the things that work best with your schedule. You have to find the things that interest you, motivate you, and energize you.
If you don’t do this, and simply try to follow one specific program handed to you by someone else, you may be setting yourself up for failure. That’s not to say that there aren’t wonderful programs or advice out there (I am a tried-and-true believer in Weight Watchers, for example). But no matter what plan you follow, I do believe you need to make it your own by following the things that work for you and forgetting about the things that don’t.
So how do you figure out what works best for you? It’s all about experimentation. Try new foods and recipes. Give smoothies or juicing a shot. Cut back on carbs and increase your protein. Try cutting back on sugar. Attempt a new type of exericse. Join a sport or running club. Even if it takes a lot of trial and error, you will eventually find what works for you. And once you do, stick with it for as long as it suits you. If you need to make changes, you’ll know when and what changes to make. But no matter what, don’t let somebody else tell you what your body needs. Take their advice, consider it, test it out, and then you decide. Because nobody knows what you need more than you. By staying true to you, you’re sure to find success.